Lab 1886.

The global innovation machine.

Mobility in the Next Dimension.

Innovation has always been a key driver behind Daimler's sustained success. The company is undisputed as the world's most innovative manufacturer in the automotive industry. Lab1886 was launched in 2007 by the name Daimler Business Innovation. Since then, the Lab has been supporting the company with innovative business models to master the challenges of the future. Lab1886 stands for the promise and commitment to consistently develop the best products and services for Daimler customers. Based on the new CASE corporate strategy, Lab1886 is moving into the next dimension of mobility.

The Best Innovation Ecosystem.

Innovation is a way of placing visionary ideas on solid ground, questioning conventional principles – and changing them if necessary. This demands courage, perseverance, and a place to work on things – like a garage. When Gottlieb Daimler left his job at the Gasmotorenfabrik Deutz, no one could imagine that in 1886 he would reinvent mobility in a garage.

Lab1886 follows the tradition of this innovation culture. As the germ cell of a global innovation ecosystem, this is where new business models are developed, tested, and prepared for the market. Many of the business models that have become firmly established in the company today were created here. The value-adding success of Daimler's creative think tank is confirmed by products and services like car2go, moovel, She's Mercedes, or Mercedes-Benz energy storage. It's no surprise that we are ranked among Germany's leading innovation labs in 2017.

The Global Talent Factory.

Lab1886 is a magnet for attracting talent from the Daimler Group and from organizations across the globe. As a worldwide innovation network with offices in Stuttgart, Berlin, Beijing, and Sunnyvale (Silicon Valley), we have long since become a recognized force among the world's innovation centers. This has a lot to do with the outstanding team spirit of our employees. People who work here understand that innovation comes from teamwork. Our unconventional approach to developing innovative business models from new ideas also plays a key role. Only the best ideas are selected for further development. The work in our incubator is supported by defined milestones and transparent processes. If an idea fails this stress test – i.e. if a project is not scalable or cannot achieve the defined targets in the foreseeable future – it is rejected. The motivation to create truly marketable products and services is rewarded through a profit-sharing scheme. This gives Lab1886 its own special appeal by intelligently combining the company's know-how with the speed and culture of start-ups.

The Lab1886 Philosophy.

Innovation is not a matter of coincidence. It follows a defined plan. Driven by the passion to make the unimaginable feasible, it is important to experiment with conventional knowledge and reconfigure it. The Lab1886 philosophy is divided into three successive phases: Ideation, Incubation, Commercialization.


Each innovation process starts with the genesis of an idea. Based on global challenges, social trends, and self-defined objectives goals, we work in teams to develop hypothetical solutions. These ideas are then tested in a pre-incubation phase and discussed with Daimler employees via an in-house crowdsourcing platform. The best suggestions from the crowd and other high-potential ideas contributed by the business units are then forwarded to the shark tank. This is where a panel of experts decides whether to follow through with an idea.


The ideas selected by the shark tank are tested for feasibility and scalability. Teams accompanying the idea initiator are offered further support through coaching and mentoring by professionals, their own co-working spaces, workshops, and funding. In this inspiring environment, we work in short sprints to develop new prototypes and design compelling pilot projects.


Projects that have proven to be resilient and viable during the incubation phase are followed by commercialization. In this final step, the fledgling products or innovative services are prepared for the challenges in a global market. If the visionary concept has the potential to change the mobility of the future, it will be followed up with a roll-out and transfer to the line organization or possibly a spin-off.

The Global Innovation Machine.

Like STARTUP AUTOBAHN, Lab1886 plays a key role in the Daimler global innovation network. These two complementary concepts are like Yin and Yang. Both work along the four pillars of the new CASE corporate strategy, which focuses on the mobility of the future. We define this approach based on four main themes: Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Service, and Electric Drive. STARTUP AUTOBAHN, an initiative aimed at linking engineering in Stuttgart to the drive of Silicon Valley, is an assessment center that examines and promotes independent start-ups from outside the company. Lab1886 is the matching counterpart. Comparable to a trainee program that serves as a global incubation network to focus more on its own employees and the most disruptive ideas. Only the best ideas and talents are promoted, in-house and outside of the company. For example, ideas generated by STARTUP AUTOBAHN or one of our 280,000 employees can be added to the incubator and converted into real business models. Working together, they support the transformation of Daimler from a car manufacturer to a leading mobility provider in the future.